Beer in the Carolinas

Daniel Hartis, who lives in Charlotte, is the author of Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing In The Queen City and the recently-published Beer Lover’s The Carolinas. Last week, he talked beer with fellow blogger Jim Dedman. Hartis credits the grass-roots Pop the Cap movement in North Carolina, which successfully lobbied state lawmakers to lift the 6-percent ABV limit, for the growth of craft beer in that state. Later, South Carolina passed similar legislation, and amended its liquor code to allow breweries to serve pints.

The author admits that his first experience with craft beer didn’t go so well. When he moved to Asheville to go to college, he asked the server at a pizzeria to bring him a pint of the establishment’s most popular beer. It was, of course, an IPA. He said, “I’d like to tell you it opened up a whole new world for me, but I thought it was disgusting and abrasively bitter.”

Hartis also said that breweries and beer bars are opening so fast in the Carolinas that he’s already thinking of a second edition of the book. It might hit the shelves as early as a couple of years from now.

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The Friday Mash (King Ludwig Edition)

On this day in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria passed away. Please join our beer-drinking lion in a moment of silence for the “Mad King” who, among other things, commissioned the fantastic Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the area’s leading tourist attractions.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Petaluma, California, where Lagunitas Brewing Company held its annual Beer Circus. Some guests wore top hats and “ironic facial hair,” while others dressed as figures from popular culture.

Just in time for Father’s Day: Criquet, a clothing company, has designed a shirt with a reinforced lining that prevents you from destroying it while using the shirttail to twist a beer bottle open.

Twenty years ago, Lauren Clark quit her desk job to work for a brewery. She then gravitated to writing, and recently published Crafty Bastards, a history of beer in New England.

Gustav Holst’s The Planets inspired Bell’s Brewing to create a seven-ale series, each of which named for one of the planets in Holst’s suite. The first Planet beer will be released in August.

St. Louis, which is celebrating its 250th birthday, has 30 craft breweries–and yes, the Budweiser brewery, too. USA Today’s Wendy Pramick has a beer lover’s guide to the city.

Brock Bristow, a South Carolina attorney, might wind up in the Lobbyists’ Hall of Fame. He persuaded lawmakers to pass the brewery-friendly “Stone Bill”.

Finally, Jeopardy! for beer geeks. Three female beer bloggers host a monthly trivia night at a bar in Brooklyn. Games consist of four rounds: brewing, history, popular culture, and the “hipster trifecta.”

The Friday Mash (B&O Railroad Edition)

On this day in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated. Can you name the other railroads on the Monopoly board? Time’s up. They’re the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Railroad, and the Short Line.

All aboard!

We begin in Brazil, where the Polar brewery has an invention that will make it easier to converse in bars. It’s a beer cooler that cuts out GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, and 4G signals.

California’s drought could make your Lagunitas IPA will taste different. The Russian River, which provides Lagunitas with its water, is drying up, and brewery might have to find another source.

Beer was the headline ingredient in last Sunday’s “Chopped” competition on the Food Network. The show, with Stone Brewing Company’s Greg Koch as a judge, airs again on Sunday evening.

Higher zymurgical education awaits in the form of Joshua Bernstein’s new book, The Complete Beer Course. It contains a series of “classes” devoted to families of beers.

On Tuesday, when he was in Chicago to announce the award of a federal manufacturing grant, President Obama put in a plug for Goose Island Brewing Company’s “superior beer.”

A Korean romantic comedy in which the female lead makes chimek to celebrate winter’s first snow has Chinese viewers clamoring for the dish, which is Korean for “fried chicken” and “beer.”

Finally, a gathering of 490 Yelp members at Santa Anita Race Track might set a new Guinness record for beer tasters. We hope they bet on Ambitious Brew, who won the $100,000 Sensational Star stakes race.

California’s Brewers Cope With Drought

California is suffering one of the worst droughts in memory and, as Claire Leschin-Hoar of Voice of San Diego explains, the state’s craft brewing industry is feeling the effects. Brewers in the San Diego area are taking steps to conserve water in the beer-making process. The first step is finding out where it’s being wasted. The next is to find ways to use less water and to re-use it–for example, by using reverse osmosis to purify wastewater.

It takes more than three gallons of water to make one gallon of beer, and even more at small breweries which can’t take advantage of economies of scale. However, other beverages have much bigger “water footprints.” It takes 880 gallons of water to make one gallon of milk or one gallon of coffee, and 1,008 gallons of water to make a gallon of wine.

Gifts for the Beer Lover

Here’s are some interesting gift ideas for the beer lover on your list. Dave Selden, a native of Portland, Oregon, created a “33 Bottles of Beer” book that can be used as a handy way to record tasting notes with one hand while drinking beer with the other. All one has to do is pull out a pencil and fill in a blank flavor wheel for each beer tasted. Selden also has “33″ tasting books for other products, including wine, whiskey, cheese, or even hot sauce. And recently, he’s debuted the “United States of Beer,” a 39-inch-by-25-inch map of the U.S. with the same fill-in-the-dots format as “33 Bottles.” And yes, all 50 states can be found on the map.

Ken Grossman: Tips From the Top

Ken Grossman, the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, is out with a new book titled Beyond the Pale. It goes without saying that he’s been successful–can you believe Sierra Nevada turns 33 years old this fall?–and that he’s being sought out for his advice to entrepreneurs. In a recent interview with Dan Schawbel of Forbes magazine, Grossman offered these three tips:

1. Gut check the path you’re paving. I encountered some huge hurdles when first building the brewery, and the outcome may have been different if my passion for beer wasn’t resolute.

2. To piggyback number one, always carry around a big helping of optimism. Challenges will be that much more bearable.

3. Be mindful of those helping you succeed, and let them know you value them—often. It’s hard to give up some of the steering of the ship as a driven entrepreneur, but we don’t last 33 years as a brewery—with no end in sight—without our loyal employees.

The Friday Mash (I’ll Take Manhattan Edition)

On this day in 1626, Peter Minuit bought the island of Manhattan from Native Americans for goods valued at 60 Dutch guilders, a sum equivalent to slightly more than $1,000 in today’s money. Today, the land alone in Manhattan has an estimated value in the tens of billions of dollars.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Milwaukee, where city authorities told the Holler House bar that the bras hanging from the ceiling were a fire hazard. In the end, common sense prevailed: the bras were allowed to stay.

We know that Darth Vader is cold-hearted, but that was a plus for artist Tom Sachs, who made the Star Wars villain into a beer fridge. Comes in black, of course.

Uh, oh. Just 16 percent of Americans approve of “hipsters.” And their favorite beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon, has gone up in price because bar owners now consider it “stylish.”

We’ve got photos from last Sunday’s Trike for Beers event in Seattle. Participants zipped down Queen Anne Hill, then downed a few at Streamline Tavern.

A chronic beer thief in suburban Cincinnati left his victims $140 in cash, along with a note of apology saying that he’d found religion and promised never to come back.

Paul has a book recommendation for beer and baseball lovers: The Summer of Beer and Whiskey, by Edward Achorn. It’s about the 1883 season, which made the game “America’s pastime.”

Finally, with summer just around the corner, Food and Wine magazine names America’s best beer gardens. Topping the list is Sheffield’s, an establishment not far from Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

The Friday Mash (Golden Spike Edition)

On this day in 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, railroad tycoon Leland Stanford drove in the Golden Spike and completed the First Transcontinental Railroad. The 1,907-mile line, built by three railroad companies, cut travel time for a coast-to-coast journey from six months to a week.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Milwaukee, where investor David Dupee is planning to launch the Craft Fund. Once the SEC gives the go-ahead, Dupee will use crowd-funding to provide capital to small breweries.

Not only must Mets fans endure losing baseball, but New York City’s finest are issuing $25 citations to people caught drinking beer in Citi Field’s parking lots.

How does a koozie keep beer cold? It prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the can. Condensation will raise the temperature of your beer in a hurry.

It appears that the British government’s decision to cut the beer tax is helping the country’s pub trade. The JD Wetherspoon’s chain reported that sales increased by six percent in the past quarter.

Brett VanderKamp, the co-founder of west Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Company, has written a book about his craft-brewing experiences. It’s titled Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have cultivated a new type of barley which, thanks to a genetic defect, will keep beer fresher.

Finally, the New York Post found most of 15 bars they visited poured less than 16 ounces in their “pints” of beer. That really hurts, since some NYC bars are charging $8 for a pint these days.

The Audacity of Hops

Journalist and beer enthusiast Tom Acitelli has published a new book, The Audacity of Hops, which explores the craft beer revolution. The author, recently interviewed by Cassandra Garrison of Metro magazine, said that he initially approached the craft beer industry as a business story.

Acitelli said that he discovered craft beer had intersected with a number of culinary trends, and with cities’ economies. Asked what sparked the “craft beer revolution,” he pointed to a 1976 law that gave small brewers a break on federal excise tax and, of course, the legalization of homebrewing two years later. Along with that came a shift in public opinion away from homogenized beer and toward locally-sourced products.

“I’m Tom Dibblee and I’m a Bud Light Lime Drinker”

Tom Dibblee, of the LA Review of Books, has a confession to make. He enjoys Bud Light Lime because “it allows me to shed the burden of sophistication, and it restores beer to what it once was, when I was young–a tart nectar that makes me happy.”

Dibblee makes his admission as part of his amusing review of Bitter Brew, William Knoedelseder’s account of the rise and fall of Anheuser-Busch. Knoedelseder mentions BLL just once in his book, but the beer is central to Dibble’s review.

August Busch IV was a disaster as CEO, and was shown the door by InBev after it acquired A-B. By February 2010, he was “holed up in his mansion, grievously addicted to drugs, gripped by paranoia, beset by hallucinations, and armed with hundreds of high-powered weapons, including several .50-caliber machine guns.” But before falling into the abyss, August IV suggested that the company branch out into novelty beverages. All but one flopped: Bud Light Lime, which, in 2008, led to Anheuser-Busch’s best summer sales in years.

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